Q:Why is the dove a symbol of the Holy Spirit?

A: The Bible is very instructive regarding the various symbols of our faith. For one, we are familiar with the descent of the dove upon Jesus at his baptism in the Jordan River. God the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, bears witness to Jesus’ divinity as does God the Father in his reply that in Jesus, the Son of God, the Father is well pleased. You may wish to read all four of the Gospels, especially Chapter Three in Matthew and Chapter One in Mark.

While the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are represented by flames, the dove usually accompanies them. For example, the Sacrament of Confirmation is represented by the dove with seven flames. The dove also symbolizes peace, a peace which is perfectly exemplified in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

How blessed we are as our Catholic faith is full of symbolism which points directly to Jesus Christ and his love for us. Jesus’ love for us will never go out of style nor will the symbols which accompany that love.

QWhy did Jesus have to get baptized?

A: Here is a perfect segue from the previous question. The short version is: Jesus did it for us.

Jesus, who is fully human and fully divine, wants us to be members of his family.   In other words, through Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan, we receive the Sacrament of Baptism. This is the first sacrament we all receive as Christians and is the first of three Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation.

Jesus did not need to be baptized in the Jordan, but we needed him to be baptized in the Jordan in order to have the Sacrament of Baptism.

At his baptism, Jesus’ true identity is acknowledged by God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Here we have the Holy Trinity evident in this Gospel scene.

Jesus shows us that he is the author and source of all seven Sacraments we have in the Catholic Church. There are immeasurable supernatural gifts which greatly exceed anything you and I can create.

QIs it hard to try to listen to God’s will and understand how to carry it out to other people?

A: There are times it is very easy to listen to God’s will and to share it with others.  Other times it can be quite difficult.

We know from the Book of Genesis that God created this world to be good. And, yet, we have a way of going against God from time to time.

God has given us free will. While he does not force us to follow him, through the gift of Jesus Christ, we are shown the way.

Many cultures may accommodate or oppose the sharing of the Good News of Jesus Christ (the New Evangelization).  We recognize even in our own society Catholics who find it difficult to publicly live or promote their faith. Pray for them.  While we cannot read their hearts, we can assist them spiritually to get beyond the impediments in their lives which prevent proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ.

Carrying out our faith is a lifelong endeavor. You and I should be grateful that Jesus has entrusted us with the truth that he is the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life. 

    Pray for me, as your bishop and brother, as I embrace with fortitude and share gently the truth of our faith. 
    May God bless you and your families in this “summer vacation” period. 

To “Ask the Bishop,’ address questions to Joseph M. Taylor. 
Address “Ask the Bishop” to Taylor at P.O. Box 969, Steubenville, OH 43952. Questions can be emailed to Taylor at jtaylor@diosteub.orgAlso, he can be reached by telephone at the chancery in Steubenville, (740) 282-3631.